The Overcrowded Library of Poor ICT Implementations

If we had a dollar for every audit report that we have written or read about poor information technology project implementations …

Adding to this collection is a well written Auditor General of Scotland report that starts with the obvious but well worth repeating:

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) underpins the operation of every public sector body and offers the opportunity to transform the way public services are delivered.

As context:

Central government spend on ICT-related goods and services has increased by 15 per cent between 2011/12 and 2013/14, reflecting the move to digital public services.

We would imagine that if a similar survey was done of any government or private enterprise a similar increase would be observed.  Hence the relevance of this report to all.

So how are the Scots going:

Public bodies still encounter difficulties in identifying, recruiting and retaining staff with the range of skills required to manage ICT programmes. The Scottish Government did not perform a skills gap survey across the public sector until August 2014. 

It is not all bad news:

Some central government bodies can demonstrate good processes for managing aspects of their ICT programmes. This includes identifying benefits at the start of a programme and investing in contract management.

Alas:

Other bodies did not have processes in place to clearly define benefits, collect baseline information from the start of the programme, or invest in contract and supplier management throughout the project lifecycle.

And:

Central government bodies are using appropriate programme management techniques in line with the framework. However,some bodies used Agile to manage aspects of their ICT programmes without the necessary skills and experience in place at the start of the programme. These bodies have since trained their staff in this technique.

This report does not break any new ground in this crowded field.

What it does do by adding to the overcrowded library of reports on this topic is show that we collectively still have a long way to go to properly govern the beast of ICT which has taken over our working lives.

As an addendum to our last Report of the Week that used YouTube to share its findings with its constituents, Audit Scotland has gone the podcast route.

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